phobia

noun
pho·​bia | \ ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio) \

Definition of phobia

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation

Definition of -phobia (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exaggerated fear of acrophobia
2 : intolerance or aversion for photophobia

Examples of phobia in a Sentence

Noun His fear of crowds eventually developed into a phobia.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Though not a major accident, this incident was one of several in a series of events that would cause the pilot to develop a near-career-ending phobia: a fear of flying. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, the Architect of American Air Power, Overcame His Fear of Flying," 10 Mar. 2021 But Geller and Gallagher said barriers created by this fear or phobia could be lowered with careful public health messaging, along with self-help techniques individuals can practice or, in severe cases, professional assistance from a therapist. NBC News, "Fear of needles may keep many people away from Covid vaccines," 8 Mar. 2021 Several respondents said their stress dreams come from more unorthodox sources, like having a specific phobia, past traumatic experiences, not having their kids or family members nearby and even stress dreams of upcoming, anxiety-inducing events. People Staff, PEOPLE.com, "Anxiety About the Future Is Among Top Reasons Americans Struggle to Fall Asleep, Survey Discovers," 28 Feb. 2021 Amid pulsating techno music and the clinking of cocktail glasses, a young woman with long, dark curls sat outside a Tel Aviv bar summoning the courage to overcome her phobia of needles to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Dina Kraft, Los Angeles Times, "Israel turns to carrots, and maybe some sticks, to persuade COVID-19 vaccine holdouts," 26 Feb. 2021 In addition to learning how to use a wheelchair and tap into the pain of Valeria, Toledo also had to overcome a crippling phobia toward dogs. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "‘Amores Perros’ at 20: Iñárritu’s symphony of desire still jolts," 19 Dec. 2020 Fat phobia is a moral panic crafted from fears about free Black women in public life. Tressie Mcmillan Cottom, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lizzo, “Body Positivity,” and the Impossible Expectations for Black Women’s Bodies," 17 Dec. 2020 Boltz had a phobia about summertime insects, particularly wasps, hornets and bees after he was stung in the mouth. Staff Reports Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Minnesota briefs: Duluth's public golf courses racking up losses again," 5 Dec. 2020 For example: If someone has a phobia of spiders, therapists will have that person intentionally engage with arachnids either by imagining them, handling real ones, or even experiencing them via virtual reality. Nicole Johnson, National Geographic, "How horror movies can help people overcome real-world trauma," 30 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phobia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of phobia

Noun

1786, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phobia

Noun

-phobia

Noun combining form

New Latin, from Late Latin, from Greek, from -phobos fearing, from phobos fear, flight, from phebesthai to flee; akin to Lithuanian bėgti to flee, Old Church Slavonic běžati

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Statistics for phobia

Last Updated

19 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Phobia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phobia. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for phobia

phobia

noun

English Language Learners Definition of phobia

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an extremely strong dislike or fear of someone or something

English Language Learners Definition of -phobia (Entry 2 of 2)

: an extremely strong dislike or fear of someone or something

phobia

noun
pho·​bia | \ ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio) \

Kids Definition of phobia

: an unreasonable, abnormal, and lasting fear of something

phobia

noun
pho·​bia | \ ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio) \

Medical Definition of phobia

: an exaggerated and often disabling fear usually inexplicable to the subject and having sometimes a logical but usually an illogical or symbolic object, class of objects, or situation — compare compulsion, obsession

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